The American poet Robert Frost once said that “the surest way to reach the heart is through the ear.” As he told journalist Sterling Brown in 1936, “the visual images thrown up by a poem are important, but it is more important still to choose and arrange words in a sequence so as virtually to control the intonation and pauses of the reader’s voice.” Frost was speaking about the heart as the source of emotions, but it seems it is possible to take him literally as well: Studies have shown that reading poetry aloud can slow your heart rate, while also reducing stress and increasing feelings of well-being. It is an effect that Sir Jonathan Bate, the Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University, compares to beta-blockers, drugs that prevent the buildup of adrenaline in stressful situations. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 49 Beauty in the Beat How rhythm shapes our lives. Arts & Culture Issue 44 Garth Greenwell The Cleanness author on always being an outsider. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Ocean Vuong The poet and novelist avoiding definitive endings. Arts & Culture Issue 30 Eileen Myles Meet Eileen Myles, the poet who once ran for president. Arts & Culture Issue 29 Day in the Life: Shirin Neshat Charles Shafaieh pays a visit to the home of one of New York’s most widely recognized artists. Arts & Culture Issue 26 Siri Hustvedt The novelist discusses memory, our need for community and why art matters.